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Here We Go Again And Again And Pizzagaina…

, , , , , | Right | September 29, 2021

I work in a delicatessen in a very Italian-American neighborhood. Around Easter time, we sell a traditional quiche-like dish called a pizza chiena that’s filled with ham and cheese. A woman comes in, presumably from out of town. She points to the pizza chiena through the glass.

Customer: “Oh, what’s this? It looks interesting!”

Me: “It’s called pizza chiena! It’s very popular around this time of year.”

Customer: “What does it taste like?”

Me: “Well, ma’am, I’m Jewish, so I haven’t actually sampled it myself because there’s ham in it, but—”

Apparently, this is the wrong thing to say.

Customer: “How dare you try to sell me something that you’ve never eaten?! It’s your responsibility to know your product!”

I can only stand there in shock as this woman screams at me.

Customer: “You know what? I’m not moving from this counter until you eat a piece in front of me! I’m going to watch you to make sure you do!”

I’m probably moments away from bursting into tears, but thankfully, my coworker notices the commotion and swoops in to save me.

Coworker: “I’ve tried the pizza chiena, ma’am. It’s very good!”

The woman INSTANTLY calms down like a light switch has been flipped.

Customer: *Sweetly* “Oh, okay! I’ll take a piece!”

My coworker cut her a piece and packed it up for her to take, which she did with a huge smile and then went on her merry way like she hadn’t just been yelling at me — no apology, nothing. We never saw her again.

Use… Less… Words

, , , | Right | September 15, 2021

One summer, I work at a restaurant about thirty minutes outside of Atlantic City, a touristy city on the Jersey coast known for its casinos. I am the cashier and part of my job is answering the phone.

Me: “Hello, [Restaurant]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Hi, I’m calling to see if you take reservations?”

Me: “We do, but only for parties of six or more.”

Caller: “Only six or more?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am.”

Caller: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. Only parties of six or more.”

Caller: *Sighing* “Well, okay. Um… I’m in Atlantic City and I need directions to where you are.”

Me: “Sure! No problem. You’re going to want to get on the Atlantic City Expressway and go to Exit Sev—”

Caller: “Hold on, hold on, I’m writing this down…” *Softer* “You’re going to want to get on the Atlantic City Expressway and go to… where again?”

Me: “Exit seventeen. Then take a left off the exit and go—”

Caller: “Hold on. I said I was writing this down.” *Softer* “Then take a left off the exit and go… where?”

The directions continue and it’s painfully obvious she’s writing down every word I say instead of short directions like, “Exit seventeen, turn left, go five miles, etc.” A five-minute conversation stretches into ten minutes and then…

Caller: “Okay, I got it. Do you take reservations?”

Me: *Deadpan* “Only for parties of six or more.”

Caller: “Oh… oh… Okay, bye.”

The Drama Is Piping Up!

, , , , , | Right | September 10, 2021

I work in a housing insurance office. I can hear a customer screaming outside while a car starts up and begins driving away quickly. One of our techs, who usually visit properties to assess claims, walks back in.

Tech: “Perfect timing. I couldn’t handle another minute with that guy.”

Me: “What’s going on?”

Tech: “The customer didn’t like what I had to say.”

Me: “Can you give me the claim number so we can get this on file?”

Tech: “Oh, sure. I almost forgot. It’s [number].”

Me: “Okay, so this is a leak in the ceiling of the dining room?”

Tech: “No, not at all. Look, this claim is gonna be denied, and I told the customer, like an idiot, and now I got nothing to show for it.”

Me: “Let’s start from the beginning.”

Tech: “So, there ain’t no leak. The customer lied to you guys to get the claim opened. When I showed up, he laughed about it like he was some kind of genius. Guy’s got a plumbing issue all right, but not like that.”

Me: “I’m listening.”

Tech: “Firstly, this house is in shambles. There’s a straight-up huge hole in this guy’s bathroom floor.”

Me: “Is it in the basement? Is that a drainage hole or something?”

Tech: “Nah, second-story. Bathroom is mostly tile. I say ‘mostly’ because he took something like a hammer to the tiles in that spot to rip them out but then started cutting with a mechanical saw, I guess.”

Me: “Why in the world would he do that to his own bathroom?”

Tech: “He said he was hearing a noise beneath the tiles and wanted to fix it.”

Me: “Is he hearing things? This guy sounds pretty crazy already.”

Tech: “Well, he was half right. I didn’t hear anything at first, but then he said to run the shower and I’d hear it. So, I turned it on and, yeah, I heard it. Whoever installed those pipes needs to lose their plumbing certification, or maybe they never had one in the first place. I’m leaning towards the latter. Pretty much those pipes were just sitting there in the floor. They’re supposed to be clipped or have some kind of support to them every couple of yards, but instead, they’re just sitting there. When you turn on the shower, they start dancing, and I can assure you that is only half the problem.”

Me: “What’s the other half?”

Tech: “They are gonna snap, and then he will have a leak in the dining room, the kitchen, and pretty much the entire first floor since it will be flooded.”

Me: “Any idea how to fix this?”

Tech: “I could install some clips as a temporary fix, but that line will need to be brought up to code, and that’s no small task.”

Me: “Can you give me a quote?”

Tech: “I don’t want the job in the first place. You couldn’t pay me to go back to that house.”

Me: “It’s just for the claim. I’m denying it, but I need a number or something.”

Tech: “So, $500 labor, another $200 in parts, and probably $100 for a second guy, and then you’d need to patch the floor and retile the bathroom. I don’t know what that would cost but it would be pretty steep.”

Me: “That’s enough for me. I’ll kill the claim.”

Tech: “Do you want to know the worst part, though?”

Me: “Go ahead.”

Tech: “He handed me an envelope when I got there for the SCF. It’s literally got $20 bucks in there. He said he’d pay me the rest after the call. I don’t think he had any intention of paying, though, since it might have been his plan to chase me off in the first place.”

Me: “You can bill for $55 for today without an auth number if that gets you the rest of the SCF.”

Tech: “Oh, it does, actually. Thanks for looking out.”

Me: “I’m gonna notate the claim so that he can’t try lying to customer service or something about you. You did this one right, don’t worry.”

Tech: “Have a good one.”

Me: “You, too.”

I tasked Customer Service to call the customer and inform them that this was not a covered claim; the pipes were not properly installed, causing failures, not to mention that moving pipes around is not normal!

The internal notes read, “Customer lied about failure to get tech to house, customer attempting to force coverage to make up for shoddy plumbing in home, customer chased tech off property.”

Top Shelf Drama

, , , , , , | Right | August 23, 2021

I’m not that big a guy — I might hit the six-foot mark if I stand up extra straight — but I’ve got a big barrel chest which leads to me having a somewhat “big, powerful” voice. Luckily for those around me, I’m fairly soft-spoken, except when I get really excited or really angry.

This happens while masks and social distancing are very much a mandatory thing, but it’s not excusable in “normal” times, either, and that just makes it worse. While I’m standing at a display, trying to figure out which unhealthy flavor of potato chip I want, someone taps me on my shoulder. And by “taps,” I mean “jabs me with an iron spike of a finger.”

Customer: “Hey, get those chips from the top down for me.”

Me: “Uh, no. Back up, please.”

Customer: *Stepping closer* “You have to!”

Me: “Uh, let’s see. I don’t work here, and even if I did, the fact that I’m in a dingy gray hoodie and blue jeans would show I’m off the clock, so no, I don’t.”

Customer: “I’m not tall enough to reach; you are, so you have to do it!”

Me: “If you had politely said, ‘Excuse me,’ and asked like a civilized person, you’d already have your chips. But instead, you had to be rude and demanding, so no chips for you.”

I turn to walk away when this lovely individual reaches out and grabs my arm pretty roughly. She tries to pull me back to the end cap, but I lock my entire body in place.

Me: *Full volume* “LET. GO.”

It was enough to cause the normal “supermarket background chatter” to stop for a few seconds, at least directly around me. It was also enough to startle her into letting me go; the death-glare I gave her was enough to make her rethink her life choices and leave me alone.

I ended up getting the new “beer cheese” flavor, for anyone curious. It was surprisingly decent!

Yorick Is Moving Up In The World… Or Down…

, , , , , | Working | August 23, 2021

Back when my dad was young, he had a gig as a horror host for a local theater. He would portray a character similar to John Zacharle’s “Roland”, do some skits, and introduce whatever scary movie was playing.

One such performance involved a skull as a prop. When the bit was over, my dad went up to the balcony to watch the movie, setting the skull on the railing in front of him. Unfortunately, he got rather engrossed in the film and leaned a little too far forward, accidentally knocking the skull over. He leaned over the railing to try to grab it but was too slow. It landed in the lap of a woman who then looked up and saw my dad, still in full costume and makeup, arms reaching towards her.

She let out a blood-curdling scream, and the house lights came on. Luckily for my dad, people thought it was part of the show. I guess the lesson here is to never lose your head in a situation.